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Smart Buy: Sumptuously Soft French Dish Towels that Double as Aprons

Vacations are for taking a break from work, but when our editors travel on holiday, work (discovering fledgling creative talent, spotting new wares, finding design inspiration) tends to follow them. Case in point: Margot’s grand tour of Europe recently yielded a flurry of story ideas (see her posts on exquisitely wrapped fabric hangers and handwoven, plant-dyed rugs). And here’s another one: While visiting a store in Madrid, Do Design, she spied irresistibly soft kitchen linens by French brand Linge Particulier. Upon closer inspection, she realized that they all came with ties attached to turn them into aprons if need be.…

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Report: Trash-to-Energy Plants Face a Bleak Financial Future

The Wheelabrator incinerator in Saugus, Massachusetts, opened in 1975, making it one of the oldest trash-to-energy plants in the country. Every day, the plant burns some 1,500 tons of solid waste from 10 surrounding communities. [Photo credit: Fletcher6 / CC / Wikimedia Commons] Incinerators that burn municipal solid waste face a variety of economic challenges, with most remaining plants located in poor and minority communities where nearby residents are exposed to a variety of pollutants, a new report says. The study from the Tishman Environmental and Design Center at the New School in New York paints a bleak picture of…

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Kitchen of the Week: Seattle Cookbook Author Aran Goyoaga’s Under-Budget Kitchen Remodel

It sounds like a unicorn: a renovation completed on schedule and under budget? And not just a little under budget, but a lot. Intrigued? We were, too. Here’s how it happened. The unlikely remodeling story begins with Aran Goyoaga, a Seattle cookbook author (Small Plates and Sweet Treats) and two-time James Beard Award finalist for her blog Canelle et Vanille. She cooks for a living, yet her home kitchen was “a mess,” she says. “The house was built in 1918 and has so much original character, but the kitchen went through renovations some time in the late ’70s early ’80s,…

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Flood Survivors Become Flood Activists

This post originally appeared at Ensia. Susan Liley didn’t set out to become an activist. “A grandma, that’s all I am,” she says. But when her hometown of De Soto, Missouri, flooded four times in three years, Liley felt called to act. After the first couple of floods, Liley did what she could do to help her neighbors: She dragged waterlogged furniture from a friend’s home and delivered eggs from her chickens to those without electricity. But the third time around, Liley says, “I got mad.” Across the U.S., flood survivors are growing in number and — like Liley —…

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Hawaii Vacation Home, Designed and Decorated by Cher | FOR SALE

Since 1970, when Cher and Sonny Bono bought their first home together, Cher has been fully engaged in overseeing decor, initially with the help of decorator Ron Wilson. She would tell him what she wanted, he would say it was impossible, and she said, “just do it.” He always did and worked with Cher on her next five home acquisitions through 1991.In 1996, she bought a property in Miami Beach when she took over the decorating herself and also launched Sanctuary, her mail order catalog. By now, her style was permanently grounded using large pieces and varied textures without clutter.…

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Soapstone Counters: Are They Worth It?

I spent a total of nearly five years as an editor at Martha Stewart magazines—Weddings and, later, Living—and what I remember most about my time there were my colleagues’ copious creative talents and near-religious commitment to good taste and design. The team of designers, stylists, crafters, food editors, and other creatives I worked alongside believed in the DIY spirit, in the transformative potential of small details, in the worthwhile pursuit of domestic perfection—and, above all, it seemed to me, in soapstone. Soapstone was endlessly featured in the magazines I worked on and advocated by Martha herself. (You can watch her…

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